With 95% of all self-employed people inthe UK being sole traders, or single entrepreneurs heading up theirown limitedcompany, there is a lot of pressure on a small business owner tobe present and responsive for their business 24/7.
While you must get some downtime awayfrom your work for the sake of your mental health, you can makethings a lot easier for yourself by effectively connecting both youronline and offline presence to reassure your existing and potentialnew customers that there are real people behind your business, andyou are happy to engage with them.
Theimportance of maintaining you online and offline presence
We live in a very interconnected worldthese days, so solo entrepreneurs need to keep up both their onlineand offline presence to help generate new business and maintainexisting business.
What you need to do here is to ensurethat both your digital and real-life persona match up and that youpresent a consistent image to your customers and followers. Havingthis consistency really helps to build trust with potential newcustomers and loyalty with your existing customer base.
Presenting a fragmented image ofyourself or your company which differs greatly between your onlineand offline persona can confuse prospective new customers causingthem to pause and hesitate over whether or not to trust you withtheir money.
When you present a united andconsistent front you will be reassuring potential new customers thatyou run a genuine business and that you can be trusted.
So, what can you do to join-up youronline and offline persona to build and strengthen your overallpresence? Let's take a look at a few solid ways to market yourselfand your brand to connect them together and present a united frontfor your business.
1:Maintain consistent branding and marketing messages
Take a look at your analytics to findwhat marketing message is performing the best for you. Use thismessage to lead your brand and repurpose it to fit across all of yourmarketing and awareness campaigns.
Finding your best customer touchpointsand being consistent with your delivery is the key for reaching outand connecting with both existing customers as well as engaging withnew ones.
As your target audience continues tosee your online marketing messages and come to recognise your brand,there will be an increased likelihood that they will choose to buyyour product or service due to their consistent recognition andfamiliarity with your brand.
You must take the same marketingmessage and brand to use in your offline marketing efforts to helpbuild your online and offline connection. Those potential customersmeeting you in real-life will be much more comfortable to go onlineand buy from you when the information you provide them in person isthe same as they see online.
2:Join your local chamber of trade and commerce
Most towns and cities will have a localchamber of trade and commerce in some form or another. Check onlineor with your local council to find their contact details.
Joining your local chamber of commercecan be very useful as this is a group of local business people thatwant to help local businesses of all sizes, from large commercialbusinesses to small businesses and sole traders.
Most are run by volunteers, but othersmay charge a small membership fee. Do your research and join one thatsuits your needs the best. This may mean that your nearest large citythat covers your area may run a group that is bigger and morepro-active than a much smaller group in your town.
The meetings they run allow localentrepreneurs to gather together to learn from each other and makevaluable networking contacts. You can take advantage here bypromoting your own online or offline business to fellow businessowners who may be interested in using your services or buying yourproducts.
You can also set up a reciprocationoffer where you share your business details on their websites inexchange for you doing the same for them on your website. You couldalso set up a discount scheme for your fellow chamber members to useand they could offer the same for other group members.
3:Collect email subscribers manually
As most of you will already know,having an email list can be one of the most valuable tools yourbusiness owns. You can use your email list to send out directmessages to your existing customer base that you encourage to sign upwith you when they make an online purchase.
You can keep your email list informedof new product launches, special appearances, seasonal discounts orother special offers or news that you want to share.
While you should be using leadgenerating software on your website to encourage more emailsubscribers, you should also try to collect new email subscribers inperson. This can be done quickly, easily and in a friendly way whileyou are mingling at a local networking meeting or you are presentingat an event. You could offer them a special discount voucher or freegift that they can claim on the day and take home with them when theygive you their email address. This is a great way to connect youronline and offline marketing.
4:Hold a live online Q&A or demonstration
When you offer a product or servicethat you can demonstrate in person, then running a live online showand tell session will help to connect your online and offlinemarketing in a great way!
You can build up a lot of anticipationand excitement around your product or service by promoting an up andcoming demonstration event and live Q&A session where yourcustomers get to learn more about what you do and can get instantanswers to their questions.
Live Q&A or demonstrations work inthe real world too, so if you have booked a booth at an event, takethis opportunity to do a demonstration or a show and tell session toengage with a live audience. This can be more effective than simplystanding by your stall and handing out flyers.
5:Continue the conversation
A great salesperson never leaves aconversation open-ended! Where there is a conversation there is theopportunity to make a great close. You should be using the majorsocial media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for yourbusiness, so make sure that you recognise any customer pain pointsthat are raised during conversation, and make sure that you close outthat conversation with a solution (usually your product or service)explaining how it can help solve their problems.
Always remember to continue yourconversation and your engagement beyond making a sale. Ideally, youwant to build up a rapport with your customers to help build theirconfidence in your business and encourage them to stay loyal to youwith their repeat business.
Email a thank you message further downthe line and encourage them to feedback to you how your product orservice has helped them. If they are local to any events that you areattending, invite them along so you can meet them in person.
Meeting your customers face-to-face inthe real world can be incredibly powerful. They, in turn, will goaway as happy customers willing to talk about, spread the word andshare the benefits that your product or service brought them to theirpeers, family, friends and larger network.
6:Connect with influencers
No matter what business you areinvolved in, there will usually be some online or offline influencerthat is an expert in the field. Connecting with and building arelationship with an influencer can be a powerful move for yourbusiness.
When someone new discovers yourbusiness, they will be curious about what you can offer, but theywill be more inclined to listen to you or to trust your business ifyou are connected with a well-known and highly respected influencer.
It is important to take the time toslowly build your connection with any major influencers and not toblatantly go out to promote your product or service to them. You needto join in with the conversation or topic being discussed withoutmentioning your business.
Offer useful (free) advice or tellpeople about your own experiences and what helped you overcome anyshared issues you had. As you get drawn into the conversation andpeople get used to you and recognise your name, their naturalcuriosity will lead them to do a bit of research on you and yourbusiness.
This, in turn, can lead them to strikeup a conversation with you where they ask you about your products orservices, which then gives you a stage to start leading theconversation from and to draw in potential new customers.
7:Always be there for your customers
While all of these tips can help you toconnect both your online and offline business presence and promoteyour business, it is fair to say that no matter whether you areworking online to engage with your customers, or you are connectingin person at a live event, you simply cannot be in two places atonce!
By far the most simple, convenient,professional and effective way of always being there for yourcustomers is to have a good communication back up system.
You don't want to miss an importantphone call from a potential new customer because you are busy doing alive demonstration at a business event. You also don't want toencourage the people you meet in real life to call you only for themto be met with an ever-ringing phone that goes unanswered.
You need to capture every singlevaluable phone call that people make to your business. You can onlydo this by using a reliable and high-quality telephone call answeringservice, such as the one offered by CapitalOffices, so that you don't miss any salesopportunities.
The great thing about using aprofessionalcall answering service such as this is thatyour potential new customers, as well as your existing customers,will know their call is important to you and that their query orrequest has been noted and that you will be guaranteed to get back tothem or put directly through when you know their call is urgent.